Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Zen and the Art of Wallpaper Removal

For the better part of the last week I have been spending time at my grandparents' home of many, many years removing wallpaper. Some of these wallpapers have come down very easily, some...not so much. I am a huge proponent of wallpaper! huge. Even though I've spent about ten hours on a ten foot length of wall. (Concentrated chemicals will be applied to the multiple coats of wallpaper tomorrow. It is such a beast, I keep thinking, "No wonder grandma didn't remove this before repapering!") This has been an interesting experience.  Earlier this summer, through various refinishing projects done for other people, I realized that I really only like doing DIY stuff for myself. I know this sounds so selfish...but...well, it is. But hear me out. As I was refinishing these super old chairs for some people I know, for example, I realized, this is not fun, even though I charged a lot. I usually really like building or finishing stuff. But these chairs--even though they had great bones and turned out to be pretty gorgeous--I just really hated most of the experience. (Another potential occupation crossed off the list.) But this wallpaper removal, I haven't hated.

This beast of a room has actually been fairly cathartic to conquer. I have hated the top layer of wallpaper since I was a very small child. My brother and I would stay in that room on the weekends when my dad would come back from Minnesota to visit. I hated that wallpaper, but I was also terrified of my grandparents, so I tried to avoid them by staying in that room, (surrounded by dusty blue peacocks and beige flowers) as much as possible when we were at the house. It is just not my taste. Not like the gorgeous cream damask that I was sad to take down from the entry, or the gorgeous blue floral that I've convinced my entire family to let stay up and update the rest of the master bath. Well done there, Grandma. But most of the time spent taking down what I have managed to get down thus far was spent - I wouldn't say enjoying what I was doing, but I was happy to be helping people I love. Also, I think it really plays well in to the type a aspects of my personality. The more OCD/perfectionist I am about the wallpaper, the better.

As an added bonus, my grandfather is super impressed by how quickly I'm getting stuff done. Tonight when my father and I brought him a chocolate malt he said, "You know you've got the greatest daughter in the world!" What?!? I've really come to appreciate my grandfather over the past year and a half since my grandmother passed away. We talk about movies a lot*, and even joke about a certain non-blood-related relation that we both aren't particularly fond of. It has only taken my whole life, but I finally have made some headway. So there's that too.

Am I still afraid to touch anything in the house? You betcha. My grandmother might be deceased, but it is almost Christmas card season and I'd like very much to not be trashed this year.

*He has created a searchable database of all of the films he's seen since at least 1971. When I heard this I was disappointed I hadn't thought of doing that myself.

No comments: